Thursday, April 30, 2009

As I See It : Creativity Vs Extravaganza

Frankly I was shocked to see today's ( 30/04/09) Hindu Business Line. The front cover page was just a blank white sheet with the Business Line Masthead. A closer look reveals a two figures at the middle of the sheet with a "turn overleaf " message below.

In the middle it was written 2009 crore (2007-08) --- 3007 crore (2008-09)netprofit

Turning overleaf revealed that the ad was for Bank of India which announced its annual results. The results' details were published in the full innercover page advertisement.

The result is pretty impressive - a net profit growth of 50%.
But the Ad is not ....

White spaces are good... but too much white space shows that there is a hole in the pocket.

This is a time where every penny is precious. Whether it is a bank which is making huge profits or a business which is trying hard to survive. Here we see a full page wasted just like that with no purpose whatsoever.

There is no big idea . Remember it is not a brand building ad. It is an ordinary process for publishing annual results. That is why such a spending is nothing but a sheer waste of valuable marketing money.

There are many ways of telling the public about this stellar results. Let the top management visit all channels and give interviews, let the PR department make this result come in the front page of all newspapers. That is how such results should be marketed not by blasting money publishing white spaces in the front cover.

I had worked in media and I know how much such an ad costs. Definitely this is not the time for such lavishness. Every Paise counts.

John Wanamaker once said "Half the money I spend on Advertising is wasted;the trouble is I don't know which half ".

Pearlpet : Har Dil Ka Pet

Brand : Pearlpet
Company : Pearl Polymers
Agency : Imagine

Brand Analysis Count : 396

Pearlpet is a highly successful brand. So successful that the brand has become generic to the category. This is a brand that transformed the Indian kitchenware market. I still remember times where my mother used to store those curry powders in the Horlicks Glass bottles. Now a look the row of plastic containers in the kitchen speaks about the change that this brand has made to the Indian households.

PET stands for Poly Ethylene Terephthelate. PET bottles offered a very convenient safe storage solution for both the industry and households .

PET storage solutions have application in both industry and consumer segments. The pet bottles are used for packaging in various business like Softdrinks, Confectionery etc.

Pearlpet is a brand which was very popular at the home segment.The brand replaced the glass bottles and became the choicest storage solution for the households.
Pearlpet infact satisfied a need for a safe durable storage solution. Glass bottles were very good but had an inherent disadvantage of being unsafe and breakable.
PET jar offered a solution for this.The bottles were looking good, came in convenient sizes and shapes, was unbreakable and priced reasonable.

Pearpet was the first one to create a brand in this emerging category. Pearlpet was introduced in the Indian market in 1984. During those days, the brand advertised heavily and reports say that Malaika Arora was a model for this brand.

On the industrial market segment, the increasing number of brands in the fmcg ,softdrinks and confectionary segment increased the scope of PET products. Pharmaceutical segment also was a huge opportunity for such packaging solutions.

Pearlpet faces competition from two fronts. The greatest threat was from the unorganized local manufacturers. Since consumers do not significantly see a difference between branded and unbranded products, they choose the low priced unbranded bottles and packs. Chinese products also give a huge competition for Pearlpet.

At the higher end of the market, direct marketing giants like Tupperware and international brands like Rubbermaid has carved a niche for itself. They are giving competition at the premium end of the market.

In this highly competitive scenario,Pearlpet however is not aggressive in taking on the competition. The brand is still resting on its laurels. I do not remember seeing any ads/promos of this brand in recent times.Consumers now do not see much difference between Pearlpet and other unbranded ones. This is akin to leaving the entire market open for all competitors.

Pearlpet is missing out opportunities of grabbing maximum from a market which it had created. The brand still have a huge equity which it should nourish and invest . Although reports suggest that the brand have a larger share, the lack of brand promotion can be the Achilles Heel for this brand.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

As I See It : The Death of HR Function

Human Resources Development ( HR) was a glamorous function. A much sought after specialization in business schools (especially by girls) HR came into limelight with the Software Industry boom in India.

The HR function broke away from the Personnel and Industrial Relations Department ( P&IR) which was later relegated to dealing with Unions and Payrolls. HR became the focal point in organizations and took over the glamorous functions like recruitment,selection and training.

The software boom resulted in a huge demand for talent. Firms began to scout for the scarce talent and retaining talent became the major worry for the top management. Suddenly ,from a mere Staff Function, HR became a strategic function.

Management Gurus began to praise the importance of HR in a firms' strategy. HR professionals were touted to play a major role in the board. When Mohandas Pai of Infosys voluntarily remitted his CFO position to take up the role of Director - HR, everyone thought that HR has come off age.

Since money was not an issue, training was on overdrive. HR made training mandatory for all officials including Chairman and Managing Directors. Even thoughts about corporate universities began to shape up.

Stories began to spread about the lavish perks and mouth-watering work environments. Companies began to compete to build smartest workplaces.Employees were considered vital resources. Firms began to inventory human resources fearing that competitors will grab them. Sometimes employees in the bench exceeded those who are doing real work.

The traditional sector like manufacturing , FMCG and durables also faced issue of retaining talent because talent was moving towards sunrise industries that offered better packages.

Employees tried to take advantage of the talent crunch by transforming themselves into Job Hoppers.Commitment was out of fashion , No Shows became the order of the day.


Recession struck... Markets tumbled, customers stopped buying , panic spread and the dreaded word - Cost Cutting became the Manthra.

Suddenly there was a change in the HR lexicon.

Resource became Expense.
Human Resource became Human Cost - the focal point of Cost Cutting.

Talent Retention became Talent Rationalization.

Sitting on Bench Became Sitting Ducks

Training became a discretionary Expense.

HR became a dreaded function relegated to the difficult task of retrenching people and identifying weeds.

Now no one is talking about talents retention, training ,development.

It is sad that only very few organizations identified and understood the true nature of HR. They are still hiring, retaining and training their employees . For others , HR was just a fashion.

The problem was in numbers. Just like filling sales targets, HR began to fill in the numbers. Blinded by the growth, the Qualitative factors never made sense. The current scenario proves that the HR forecasting models needs to be redefined.

I still don't understand why a person should be recruited if they have no job to do ?

If training is considered to be the key to organizational development, why is that it is cut ?

If HR's job is to recruit the right person for the right job, why are people leaving just for a higher salary ?

When organizations grow in breakneck speed, opening offices at every district and recruiting people enmasse, is it the responsibility of HR to remind the company to go slow ?

The current scenario is a painful lesson for the HR Function and it is a time to redefine the role of HR in organization. The principal role of HR should be to imbibe a culture in an organization that naturally attracts and retain the best talent irrespective of good times and bad times.

Otherwise HR will only be a king of good times.

End Note : I am not a HR professional or an expert in this function , hence I may be wrong in some of the observations. Please give your views as comments.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Brand Update : Orbit

Orbit has signed the bollywood diva Deepika Padukone as its brand ambassador. The brand is running the new commercial featuring Deepika

watch the ad here : Deepika for Orbit

The brand is retaining the positioning based on the tooth decay prevention property.The brand has the tagline " It really Works ".
I was surprised to see an actress endorsing a chewing gum brand. I think it is the first time an actress becoming a brand ambassador for a product like chewing gum. Chewing gum was earlier associated more with male segment. But this association has become obsolete for the new generation where you see this product being used by both guys and girls.
The positive side of the endorsement is that Deepika may motivate lot of girls to try out this category.
I don't think that Deepika is going to add any value to the brand as such. The ad also does not have anything catchy . The brand hopes that using a celebrity will gain more eyeballs but other than just a curiosity,Deepika may not add much to Orbit.

What Do You Think ?

Related Post

Monday, April 27, 2009

Marketing In Recession : Hope is the Key

Everyone is feeling the pinch of the economic slowdown. Recession and Cost Cutting is the most used terms across offices. Consumer confidence is at the lowest. It is not that consumers (both business and consumers) does not have the need or the money to purchase, the real fact is that they are afraid to splurge.

As a consumer,I have needs and aspirations. I also have some disposable income to purchase but I am not buying because I am afraid of what is in store for me in future.
Many business customers are postponing purchase because they are facing an uncertain future. We are in a vicious cycle which ought to be broken.

Today is Akshaya Thritiya. This is an auspicious day to purchase gold. The story is that if you purchase gold today, it will bring you wealth and happiness in future. Gold Merchants were making a huge marketing push for this day. For the past two weeks, Jewelers across South India were advertising like hell trying to promote gold purchases on this day. And as expected, most jewelers in my state is witnessing brisk sales.

That is the power of Hope.
The success of Barack Obama was an important lesson for all marketers. Hope sells in Recession.

We humans have a innate love of life. We cling to life. Other animals don't cling to life as we do. They don't worry about death as much as we do. We have a built-in -system of Hoping . This trait has been helping us to counter serious dangers to our existence.

Hope is something that help us to slog.

So if you want to your consumers to buy your products, give them hope. Give them a hope that your product will make their life/business easier. Give them hope that you will be with them riding the storm. Give them hope for a better future or else atleast make them feel good.

Hope and greed are different. Hope is realistic while greed is a fantasy. Obama was communicating realistic hope and that was why people believed him.

People are buying gold on Akshaya Thritihiya not because of the flashy advertisements but they have hope .

Related Post
Marketing in Recession

Friday, April 24, 2009

Brand Update : Lifebuoy

Lifebuoy has taken a vow to make India healthy. The new campaign " Banaye Healthy Hindustan".
The new ad campaign takes the route of Before- After theme.

The brand selected two apartment complex for this experiment. In one apartment, the children were asked to use Lifebuoy soaps 5 times a day and another apartment were selected where there was no change in the lifestyle . After the experiment, children in the apartment where the brand was used recorded remarkable increase in terms of school attendance and a decrease in the incidence of diseases. Lifebuoy is claiming that the experiment proves that using the brand 5 times a day can dramatically reduce the chance of getting illness and improve school attendance by 40%.

The current campaign is an extension of the famous Swastya Chetana initiative of the brand where the children are encouraged to wash their hands with soaps inorder to reduce the incidence of diseases like diarrhea.

This time Lifebuoy is using the before-after theme . Indian brands are right now using the high-risk before-after theme. Horlicks was the one which came to my mind which had successfully used this experiment format to catch the consumer. The strategy is risky because the claims has to be authentic otherwise the brand will be in trouble. Secondly these claims should be believable.

HUL has tried a similar campaign for Pepsodent ( Dishum Dishum campaign) where it encouraged kids to brush their teeth twice a day. The campaign was a highly successful one.
Through the new campaign , Lifebuoy is expecting similar success.

It is commendable for a brand to strive hard for a noble cause. The brand has chosen a right cause which mutually helps both the brand and the community.

Related Brand

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

LMN : Emergency Lemon Refresher

Brand : LMN
Company : Parle Agro
Agency : CreativeLand Asia
Brand Analysis Count : 395
This summer is special . Special because this summer , Indian softdrink/beverages marketers suddenly found that Indians love lemon flavored drinks. They realised that despite Shahrukh, Aamir and host of celebrities endorsing cola brands, large section of Indian consumers quench their thirst with nimbu paani.
And surprisingly the revelations came to Indian marketers all at once and this summer everyone is after NimbuPaani-- our very own lime juice or in malayalam (my native language)- Naaranga vellom .
Ofcourse marketers are forced to go after numbers. Even if their friends and relatives chose lemon juice over bottled drinks, marketers are forced to look at numbers, trends and statistics. This summer statistics have told them that the market for lemon based drinks have a potential.
According to a report in Business Standard, out of the Rs 7500 crore sparkling drinks market,colas comprise of only 38% of the total market while flavors comprise of 54%. The realization came only after Sprite dethroned Pepsi to become the number two selling beverage brand in India.
What marketers did not see was the big picture. Business Standard estimates that out of 120 bn litres of beverages consumed in India, packaged drinks account for only 5%. Marketers failed to look at consumers but too focused on categories and micro segments. It is not this summer, every summer, Indian consumers were taking lots of lemon drinks but marketers failed to see the bigger picture while spending their energy on outsmarting competition.
The fire cracker in the lemon based drink segment was started by Pepsi with the launch of Nimbooz . Soon to follow was the brand LMN.
LMN is from the house of Parle Agro. This summer Parle Agro is in an over drive with new launches like Saint Juice, LMN and Grappo Fizz. It is encouraging to see an Indian company aggressively taking on the Cola majors.
When I first saw the ad of LMN, what striked me was the brand name. It is one of the best brand names I have seen in recent times.Pepsi has done a masterstroke by taking in the generic name Nimbu by launching Nimbooz. I thought Nimbooz will score because of the powerful brand name. But LMN proved to be a equal worthy competitor for Nimbooz.
Having a brand name which is generic has many advantages. It is easy for consumers to understand what the brand promise is and what the product will do for them. The downside is that the generic name restricts further brand extensions. There cannot be an Orange flavored Nimbooz or Orange LMN.
LMN is indeed a powerful brand name and the brand benefits out of that. While Nimbooz is desi LMN is modern. So the brand is aiming more at the younger crowd by the way the packaging is designed and also the way the brand is positioned. Having said that even Kids may like the brand because it is very simple and easy for them to understand what it is.
While Nimbooz is directly taking on the ordinary nimbu paani ( generic lemon drink), LMN is positioned as a refreshing drink little away from being pitched right against the ordinary lemon juice.
LMN is running the launch television commercial across channels. The brand is being positioned as a refreshing lemon drink and has the tagline " Emergency Lemon Refresher ".
Watch the TVC here : LMN
LMN compete with brands like Limca, Sprite, 7 Up and Nimbooz. But the interesting fact is that all these brands represents different categories.The basic difference between LMN and Sprite is that Sprite is a carbonated beverage while LMN is not.
Limca is a cloudy drink while 7 Up and Sprite are clear drinks. LMN and Nimbooz are non carbonated drinks while others are carbonated.
But am not sure whether Indian consumers are aware of these categories . But the situation in the beverage market is that marketers are too much focused on categories and micro categories. We have juices ( 100%,85% 50% ), fruit drink,fruit juice,nectar, artificial,carbonated,non carbonated and what not.. What consumers want is a very simple solution- quench the thirst. Brand that do it with style wins.
LMN has tried to innovate interms of its brandname and also its packaging. It has comeout with a 110ml package that costs only Rs5. This sounds attractive and many consumers would try out this mini tetra provided the quantity satisfies their thirst.
The primary issue for the Indian beverage players is the distribution reach. Pepsi and Coke had built a robust distribution reach. The power of distribution is evident in the case of Kerala. Here Pepsi rules the market with over 80% because of robust distribution strategies. The key to LMN success is how well Parle Agro is able to leverage its distribution reach for this brand.
LMN has a headstart with a good brand name and a cool packaging. The brand has a potential to be a serious player depending on the investment that the company will put in for the brand. To build a brand in the highly competitive beverages market, one should invest continuously and consistently. Hope that LMN will get refreshers from the company interms of brand building investments.
Related Brands

Monday, April 20, 2009

Brand Update : Western Union

Western Union has launched a new global branding campaign. This is the first global branding campaign by Western Union in its 150 year history. The new branding campaign gives a fresh new perspective to the brand.

Money transfer is not a glamorous business like selling Softdrinks or Soaps. But creativity can make this service a worthy glamorous brand. The new campaign has done just that for Western Union.

Created by Publicis Hongkong, the new campaign has given a new tagline for Western Union - YES!

This simple small three letter word is one of the most powerful taglines a brand can get. Kudos for the brand to catch this small Big Word. The new branding campaign is based on hope ,optimism and can-do attitude.

Watch the ad here : Western Union

What I liked about the ad is its universal appeal. The Yes tagline has a universal appeal across the markets which the brand serves. The brand rightly captures the essence when it says " Say Yes to Brighter Future".

Related Brand
Western Union

Friday, April 17, 2009

Brand Update : Boomer

Boomer has launched a unique variant Boomer Gumlairs. Gumlairs is the chocolate eclair bubblegum. The company claims that it is a new category which is being created by Gumlairs. The brand is trying to combine the taste of chocolate eclairs and chewing gum together. Eclairs for a large part of the confectionery market and Boomer wants to attract those eclair lovers into chewing gum category.

Chewing gum brands has been experimenting a lot with taste . The brands till now was concentrating more on fruit based flavors. It is the first time that a chewing gum brand is experimenting with chocolate flavor.

It is important for brands in markets like confectionery to constantly bring out new flavors to keep the excitement going. Consumers of this category are very fickle in their choices and they keep on experimenting with new brands and flavors.In that perspective, Gumlairs is a smart move by Wrigley.

I have a mixed opinion about the taste of chocolate in a chewing gum. These are perceived to be two extereme categories and the concept of both the categories coming together is truly unique.Kids are obviously going to be excited since there is something new and they truly love to experiment.
The claim of creating a new category will fully depend on whether kids like the taste or not. My personal take is that Gumlairs will remain as yet another flavor. Nothing more , Nothing less.

Related Brand

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Arrow Shirts : Now You Know

Brand : Arrow
Company : Arvind Brands
Agency : Rediffussion

Brand Analysis Count : 394

Arrow is one of the leading premium readymade brand in India. This international brand has a rich history dating back to 1851. Globally Arrow brand belongs to Cluett Peabody . In India, the brand is manufactured and marketed by Arvind Brands.
Arrow is predominantly a shirt brand. This American brand was made famous by JFK is a preferred shirt brand of Executives.

Arrow came to India in 1993. The brand which was known for its American heritage was an instant success in India too. In 2000, the brand clocked a turnover of Rs 55 crore fighting for the market with Louis Phillipe and Van Heusen . This premium brand thrived on the International image and Arvind Co nurtured this brand by making the brand exclusive and through restricted availability.

The brand was expensive and had the quality and finish. Arrow was famous for its ultra- formal shirts. Consumers liked to show off the brand and the famous Arrow brand mark near the cuff.The brand used to promote itself using print media.

Arrow had tried to build its brand using its American heritage. The brand had the tagline Authentic American and used foreign (American) models to reinforce the association.

Arrow was popular among the older business class. The company felt that the brand is losing its position among the emerging young turks . In 2008 the company designed to reposition itself to target the youth. The brand adopted a new tagline " When You Know ". The target segment was identified as SEC A male aged 25-35 years. Print campaign highlighting the new positioning were released across the market.

Arrow offlate has been a laidback marketer. I havn't seen any ad of this brand for years. Or may be no ads of this brand has caught my eye. This is the problem with brands which have an established position in the market. Since there is a huge equity and awareness, these brands feel that there is no need to promote. Zodiac , Color Plus ,Park Avenue and Louis Phillippe has been consistently investing in brand promotions but not Arrow.

Arrow had established itself in the market not because of its campaigns but because of the quality,premiumness and exclusivity. The question is whether the brand still retains those value elements in the mind of the consumer. With readymade brands entering the market in dozens,no brand can rest on its laurels. Atleast for now....

Monday, April 13, 2009

7 Up : Bheja Fry, 7 Up Try

Brand : 7 Up
Company : Pepsico
Agency : BBDO

Brand Analysis Count : 393

7 Up is a neglected brand. This brand despite being a Pepsico brand had failed miserably in the Indian market. Sadly it is not because of the product that the brand failed but because of the marketing mismanagement.

7 Up was launched in India in 1992. According to reports, it had a wonderful start becoming the largest selling brand in the category by 2002 . 7 Up is a lemon drink similar to Limca.

Seven Up globally is closely associated with its mascot Fido Dido. When launched in India, 7Up also bought in the famed mascot. Fido came to India in 1992 along with the brand but had a very erratic relationship with 7 Up.

Despite being in the Indian market close to 19 years, 7 Up was not a successful brand. The fault lies in the confused marketing strategy adopted by Pepsico with this brand. Pepsico is one of the world's best marketers. But when we look at individual brands like Mirinda and 7 Up, we see a confused product mix strategy from the company.

Pepsico never had a long term plan for 7 Up. When the brand was launched, the lemon flavored drink segment was perceived to be a small market with the market leader Limca ruling the market. But both Coca Cola and Pepsi was not interested in developing the category or the brand for a long time. Limca was killed by Coca Cola while Pepsi after the initial enthusiasm dropped investing in 7 Up.

The problem with 7 Up was two fold. First was the company's lack of interest in the brand and the category and second was the positioning confusion.

When launched, 7 Up was positioned as a cool drink. The brand used Fido Dido and certain imported commercial to position the brand as a cool drink for the youngsters. But the mascot and its international style failed to impress the audience. Every one liked Fido Dido but there was no connect with the mascot and the Indian audience. The company was in a dilemma because 7 Up had a strong association with Fido Dido but Fido Dido had a disconnect with the Indian audience.
This is a typical problem faced by those brands that import their foreign mascots to India . Pillsbury had a mascot Doughboy which is very famous in US but less popular in India . Fido Dido was a foreigner and hence the lack of connect was evident.The brand was really confused on how to use Fido Dido in the Indian market.

Fido Dido has an interesting background. The character was born in 1985 in a cafeteria napkin T he founders Susan Rose and Joanna Ferrone was in a discussion during which Susan Rose scribbled a figure in the napkin which later became Fido Dido. Fido became the brand ambassador for 7 Up in 1989. Another interesting fact is that Fido Dido trademark does not belong to Pepsi but belong to the founder Joanna. Hence the mascot is highly controlled by the owner and not the brand.

This lack of control has prevented Pepsi from Adapting Fido to Indian audience. It does not have the freedom to change the mascot's personality. This is an absolutely awkward situation for the brand where it had a wonderful mascot but could not change anything about the mascot.

Another factor that aided for the failure of 7 Up was the thinking among Pepsi marketers that taglines and positioning statements should not remain constant. So they keep on changing taglines and statements. One of the highly popular taglines for 7 Up was " Keep it Cool ". But the marketers at Pepsi wanted to change it for the sake of changing it. " Keep it Cool' was perhaps one of the apt and best tagline which could have lifted the brand to new hieghts had Pepsi invested in developing it.

Seven Up and Fido Dido had a short affair. In 1995 Pepsico globally stopped using Fido Dido and in India too the company stopped using the mascot. Later in 2003, the brand began using Fido Dido but again it was a half- hearted approach.

The investment of Pepsico in 7 Up was no where consistent. The brand tried some marketing gimmicks like launching a curvey bottle named 7 Up Curvey in 2006. The brand took the hot bollywood Diva Mallika Sherawat as the brand ambassador since she had those curvey look. There was an initial hype behind this launch but later it died a slow death. Beyond such stunts, there was no marketing thinking for this brand.

The brand also faced competition internally from Mountain Dew. Pepsico launched its iconic brand Mountain Dew and put lot of investment behind the brand. As a consumer I do not see any difference between Mountain Dew, Sprite and 7 Up. Limca was perceived a little different because it was cloudy. Pepsico was also confused on how to clearly differentiate Dew and 7 Up when consumers perceived both as similar.

The easiest way to end the confusion is to sideline the brand. 7 Up was thus sidelined for almost 8 years. In 2007-08, the company began to look into this brand. A new theme was prepared to take the brand away from Fido Dido and focus on another theme. The brand took the tagline " Bheja Fry, 7 Up try " which talked about the refreshing feeling of Seven Up . The campaign featured many Bheja Fry situations and how 7 Up can lift your spirits in those occasions.

This summer saw the extension of this theme. Pepsico realized that Lime Juice was the largest selling drink and most favorite flavor among Indians. So it started to pitch 7 Up as " The Lemon Drink " . The brand had the new tagline " Mood ko do Lemon ka Lift ".

In 2009, Pepsico launched another brand Nimbooz which is a drink having the original lemon juice taste. Nimbooz is launched as a brand endorsed by 7 Up.Nimbooz has been launched with the tagline " Ek Dum Asli Indian ". The brand is trying to compete with the ordinary lemon juice which is one of the favorite thirst quencher of Indian consumers. The question remains as to why a unsuccessful brand is used to endorse a new brand ?

The new launch is going to be further problematic for 7 Up. 7 Up has recently pitted for associating itself with Lemon Flavor. Now Nimbooz is saying that it is the original lemon drink. One is artifical and other is original .

What ever be the argument of the marketers, consumers seldom see the difference between a cloudy drink, a clear drink, artifical, flavored etc etc. These micro segmentation actually confuses consumers and force them to go for the simplest solution. Sprite became the largest selling beverage brand because it was simple for consumer to understand what that brand did.

Keep it Simple please.....

Friday, April 10, 2009

Orient Fans : More Air, Everywhere

Brand : Orient
Company : Orient Paper Industries Ltd
Agency : Mudra

Brand Analysis Count : 392

Orient is a very interesting marketing case study. This is a brand that shows how to create a sustainable differentiation in a market which is highly commoditized. Orient is a brand which has a long history. The company was started in 1940 
as Calcutta Electrical Manufacturing Co. In 1954, the company was taken over by CK Birla group.

Orient is one of the largest fan brand in India. It is also the largest fan exporter in the country. The Indian fan market is huge with an
 approximate size of 2 crore units being sold every year. But the market is dominated by the small industries which account for about 55% of the total market. 

The organized market is dominated by players like Usha, Crompton, Orient and Khaitan.These players are facing stiff competition from the local players who compete on the basis of price. The organized players try to defend their position banking on their brand equity.

The price competition was so huge that at one point of time all major brands launched a lower priced product range to compete with the local players.

Fan is an important consumer durable. It is one of the largest selling consumer durable category in India . Although the category is the largest selling one , consumers perceive the product more as a commodity with little or no differentiation among the various players.

In a way consumers were indifferent towards the brands. Urban and upper SEC segments preferred brands because of quality but lower SEC segments were more price oriented and preferred the local brands. Local brands had high equity because they advertised heavily in their market, gave more margin to the retailer and was significantly lower priced. As a consumer, one really could not evaluate the difference between a local made fan and a branded one. There was no compelling differentiation among the fan brands.

What Orient did was a masterstroke.

1993-1994 was a bad year for the brand.Faced with dropping sales, Orient had to do something to defend its position. The brand rightly identified the need for a clear differentiation. After a thorough research on the consumer, the advertising agency Mudra suggested that the brand focus on three core areas

Air Delivery
Sweep Area
Electricity Consumption

Thus born the famous acronym PSPO. PSPo stands for Peak Speed Performance Output. 

The brand has a formula for PSPO 
PSPO = [Total Air Delivered /Electricity Consumed] X incremental factor
Increment factor = Significant Air Speed X Specified Sweep Area Plan

In simple terms, this is a design which can deliver more air to a large area . Orient has designed its motor and blades in such a manner that the fan can cover more area and deliver more air.

More than the technology, the brand was smart enough to brand this new feature as PSPO. This is a classic case of Ingredient Branding. The brand had found its differentiation. According to marketing theory, a good differentiator has to be meaningful, sustainable and not easy to copy. PSPO was a meaningful differentiator. By branding it , Orient had made it proprietary and its competitor could not copy that.

Next came the challenge of communicating this proposition to the consumers. Orient used its resources to bombard its consumers with PSPO and its meaning.There were lot of TVC which continuously conveyed the acronym PSPO and its benefits and there was a strong recall and association with Orient & PSPO.

In 2004, Orient Fans was chosen as a supplier for Walmart which gave the brand an entry to the US market.
Despite the success, Orient continued to invest in the brand. In 2006 , the brand roped in the Ace Cricketer MS Dhoni to endorse the brand. A cricketer and a fan have no connection with each other but the purpose of the brand was to reinforce its brand and its association with Dhoni gave some brand recall. The association continues even today and recently there was an ad campaign featuring Dhoni . The new campaign is also focusing on the USP of PSPO. 

The brand has the tagline " More air, Everywhere " and its core proposition has remained the same all these years. This benefit proposition  or More Air, More Area and less Electricity is still relevant for the consumer. 

Orient and its PSPO is one of the most consistent brand campaign India has seen. The theme is running for almost 15 years and the brand managers are intelligent and wise not to tamper with the winning formula. That is the power of the big idea. When you have one , use it to the maximum.

Related Brand 

PS: There is  an interesting case on Orient PSPO by Mudra. Read it here 

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Brand Update : Maggi

My favorite brand Maggi is now 25 years old. Born in 1983 , this brand has created a market for itself. Maggi is a brand which showed the power of marketing. This brand made noodles a household product. When many foreign food brands are trying to change Indian consumer's taste, Maggi bought in a silent revolution.

To mark its silver jubilee, Maggi is running a campaign " Me & Meri Maggi". The new campaign is designed to be interactive with the brand inviting from its consumers interesting stories about them and Maggi. For this, the brand have initiated a new website Consumers can write in their stories and lucky ones' photos will feature in Maggi Packs.

Maggi became successful because it understood consumers . The brand never wanted to change Indian consumer's habit. It did not had ambitions about changing Indian's breakfast or dinner preferences. What Maggi did was to slowly attach itself to Indian consumer's need without disruption.

Maggi was also closely watching consumer preferences.When consumers wanted healthy food, Maggi launched Atta Noodle variants that was healthy . More importantly this move addressed the concerns of Homemakers. The brand extended itself to multiple segment but without diluting the core brand equity.

Maggi over these years have made lot of mistakes. It made mistakes because the brand was willing to experiment. More importantly the brand learned from those mistakes and corrected itself.
Maggi also invested heavily in brand building. The campaigns for one of Maggi's products were always there in the media which kept the brand fresh in the mind of the consumers. Maggi personifies the basic principles of understanding consumers, innovating and investing in the brand.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Brand Update : Minute Maid

Minute Maid, launched in 2007 is currently running a new campaign this summer. The brand had caught the Indian consumer's attention through its launch campaign " Where is the Pulp ". The launch campaign was so interesting that it encouraged the consumers to try this international brand from Coca Cola.

The brand had the positioning based on its Pulpy Orangy characteristic . You can really feel the orange pulp when drinking this . This makes the brand unique. The uniqueness makes this brand a niche because there will be many consumers who do not like that pulpy nature of the drink which is Minute Maid's USP.

This summer, the brand is trying to further reinforcing the positioning based on its pulpy-factor. But there is a big difference in the current marketing strategy. If you remember the launch campaign , the strategy was to drive home the USP of the brand. The ad was highly successful in communicating this basic differentiating point. the task of the commercial was to tell the consumer that Minute Maid has more Orange Pulp in it. And the ad communicated it prefectly.

Watch the first commercial here : Minute Maid- Where is the Pulp

The new commercial is now translating this USP into customer benefit. The current positioning is based on the benefit that this Orange Pulp gives to the consumer. The brand promise is that Minute Maid gives you the UPLIFTING Feeling. You feel energized and Uplifted when you drink Minute Maid. So the brand is trying out the equation Pulpy Orange = Uplifting Feeling.

Watch the new commercial here : Minute Maid 2009

The ad is simple and directly conveys the brand's promise. When you drink Minute Maid, oranges comes and lifts you up. The ad backed by good music keeps you glued to the screen and ofcourse there is the temptation to pick up a bottle of the product. A brilliant idea and a very good execution. Kudos to the team.

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Minute Maid

Monday, April 06, 2009

Studds Helmets : Safety and Style

Brand : Studds
Company : Studds Accessories Ltd

Brand Analysis Count : 391

Studds is a brand that brings back memories of my two wheeler days. I hated helmets and I bet most of the youngsters do hate helmets. It is a glamour killer. What is the use of having an expensive bike and a handsome face when what those chicks will see is the dark full faced Red Helmet ???

My first helmet purchase was a grudge purchase. One fine morning, Kerala Government had a revealation that its citizen's head was very important. Government decided to  " enforce " the helmet rule and a fine of Rs 500 or more ( depending on the value of the head !) were to be imposed on those who chose to ride two wheelers without helmets.

There was a frantic run for helmets. At one point of time, there was a shortage of helmets and we guys had to play hide and seek with the traffic police who were determined to keep the keralites head safe. Those smart ones bought fake helmets from roadside and put ISI sticker on it. Some even used Cricket helmets to fool the cops.

The helmet game had been a regular feature in our state for a while. Government keep on enforcing and relaxing helmet rules in the state. Last year there was a directive that even the pillion riders should have helmets. This move created an uproar among the lady pillion riders who felt that their hair-style would now have to be at the mercy of their helmets. 

Having said that , majority of fatalities involving two wheelers is caused by head injuries . Helmets definitely is a life saver and I am of the opinion that the helmet rule should be enforced.

Studds is a major player in the helmet market in India . The Helmet market is estimated to be around Rs 200 crore but 85 % of the market belong to the unorganized segment. Studds is a major player in the organized helmet market in India.

Rs 200 crore seems to be a very small size compared to the size of our two wheeler market. India sells about 6 mn two wheelers in an year and that is a huge market for helmets. Helmet marketers are not able to tap this huge market .

One reason for that is the enforcement of the helmet rule across the country. Helmets are compulsory for two wheeler riders as per the Central Motor Vehicles Act Section 129. But this is not enforced in most of the states. 

The second reason is the lack of marketing effort on the part of helmet marketers to create an awareness among the riders about the need for helmets. Even in the states where the helmet rules are enforced, riders use helmets only to evade the cops. Hence they buy sub-standard helmets and put the ISI sticker on it. The helmet marketer are still dependent on the government to make the rule strict so that they can sell helmets without much effort.

It is in this context that Studds brand becomes interesting. Studds brand came into existence in 1970. The founder of this brand was Mr Ravi Khurana who was an R&D Head at Escorts at that time. He witnessed a fatal accident involving several of his colleagues during a test ride which prompted him to start a helmet manufacturing unit. 

Ironically in 1999, the group split into two and the Studds brand now rests with Studds Accessories Ltd and Ravi Kurana had to start a new company Ergo .

Studds is a well known and well respected brand in the industry. Without much advertising, Studds built a brand through positive word of mouth. The brand had a high perception of being a high quality helmet. It was able to charge a premium because of this thrust on quality.
Compared to other brand, Studds also was innovative interms of designs. My last helmet was Studds Ninja which I bought because of the stylish design.

Studds is not without competition. It faces competition from brands like Aerostar, AVG, Vega and host of local players. India is also witnessing the emergence of a new segment of premium helmets.

The single reason why the helmet market has not grown in value terms is the laid back marketing behavior of helmet makers. Despite being an important accessory, seldom we see any ad campaign from helmet marketers. No road shows or sponsoring of helmet-awareness campaigns. The marketers are still banking on the free lunch offered through enforcement of helmet rules by governments.
It is true that helmet is a messy accessory. It is heavy, it spoils the hair, it has to be carried around and unless you have an accident you seldom realizes its use. But it is a life saver for the biker. Every other excuse becomes irrelevant when it comes to the matter  of life and death.

It would have been wonderful if the helmet marketers come togther to increase the awareness and importance of helmet wearing among the riders. Studds could have done far better if it had invested heavily in brand building .
It is also interesting to note why two wheeler marketers have missed this opportunity for selling their own brand of helmets . 

All the marketers are waiting for the natural process of emerging segments which are conscious about the use of helmets. But in my opinion it is marketing laziness at its best.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Volini : Asli Aaram

Brand : Volini
Company : Ranbaxy
Agency : Saatchi & Saatchi

Brand Analysis Count : 390

Volini is a pain relieving brand from Ranbaxy. This brand was one of the most prescribed pain killer gel in its earlier avatar as a prescription product . In 2007 , Volini became an OTC brand. The pain relieving balm market is worth around Rs 700 crore and is dominated by powerful brands like Moov and Iodex.

I am a regular user of Volini thanks to the nagging backpain which I attracted as an incentive from my sales career. And as a customer, I can vouch for the effectiveness of this brand . When I started using Volini, it was a prescribed product. That means you need to have a prescription for buying it.

For products like Volini , once the consumer is satisfied with the results, he starts purchasing it irrespective whether the brand is an OTC or not. Volini had developed a huge brand equity because of its sheer effectiveness.

It may be because of this strong equity that Ranbaxy decided to take Volini to the OTC route. When the brand is moved to the OTC, the company have to depend on advertising and brand building to drive the sales. Once in the OTC segment, these brands often lose doctor's support.

Ranbaxy launched Volini with a campaign which landed the brand in trouble. Ranbaxy tried to put this brand directly against the market leader Moov. The brand used the tagline " Asli Pain Reliever "( meaning Real Pain Reliever) indirectly mentioning that Moov is not a real pain reliever.

The competitors took the brand and the ad to the court and Ranbaxy had to amend the advertisement. So now the brand has the tagline " Asli Aaram " meaning " Real Relief ".

Watch the ad here : Volini Ad

I think that Volini made a big mistake by positioning itself against Moov. It had the potential to stand on its own and create its own identity away from the market leader. Moov had been trying to position itself as a back-pain specialist .

As a consumer, I prefer a brand which is the most effective and the strongest of the lot. I chose Volini because I had the perception that it is the strongest pain relieving gel available. The smell and the sensation and the gel form further reinforced this perception. I have a perception that gel is more powerful than ointment.

As a person who suffers from back-pain, my immediate need is to get fast and quick relief from the pain so that I can carry on with my job. There is a sort of panic when this pain prevents you from leading a normal life. So consumers look for the most effective solution. And consumers have a way of categorising these products on the basis of their effectiveness and in my opinion the strongest wins.
The current positioning of " Real Relief " in a sense is playing down the effectiveness of Volini. " Real Relief " is a highly vague concept compared to Fast relief and Quick Relief. There is a real need for a good effective pain relief product. Doctors suggest that these back pains and muscle pains are lifestyle diseases. The increasing stress levels and the decreasing activity levels make an average Indian prone to these diseases.

Related Brands

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Brand update : Frooti

Frooti has come out with a new campaign this summer. The brand had gone in for a complete makeover. The packaging and the positioning has changed. Infact Frooti for the past few years has been trying to catch hold of a consistent theme.

It had earlier moved away from the " Fresh'N'Juicy " positioning . From there onwards, the brand was on a sticky wicket and was not quite settling on a positioning. It had the Bindaas positioning and later " Frooti- another name for Mango " theme. But the brand was not quite stable on those platforms.

The new Frooti has a new modern packaging. The choice of colors and the logo has been tweaked to make the brand more contemporary. Now the packaging is lot more neat and cool.

What is more stiking is the change in the positioning of Frooti. Last year , the brand tried to pitch itself as an alternative to mango. Now the brand is trying to be more radical and a little mad.

Watch the new TVC here : Mango Frooti

The new campaign is based on a simple consumer observation. Most of us which drink Frooti Tetrapack will try to chase the last drop of Frooti. This habit has been continuing for generations. Last day I saw my daughter trying her best to capture those evasive last drops trapped inside the pack. Knowingly or unknowingly we make funny sounds using the straw when indulging with Frooti. And we all had the habit of breaking those packs for that sound. The agency had tried to capture all these in the new communication.

The brand also has adopted a new baseline " Why Grow Up". I think this positioning is a powerful idea which can be sustained for many years provided the creatives are able think fresh.Even in the new avatar, the brand is retaining the old famous tagline " Fresh N Juicy " which is good since Frooti has a very strong association with that tagline.

Another interesting move by the brand is the creation of Mango-emoticons . The brand will now be using mangoticons in its communication which is a really smart idea. The brand using emoticons can further strengthen the association of Mango and Frooti.

Also this mangoticons can generate instant recall with the brand. So even a 1 second splash of this emoticons in the TV screen can give the same effect of a 30 second ad. The brand currently have 3 emoticons and according to the agency , it is planning to increase it to 25 by next year. I hope that Frooti uses this emoticons beyond the product package. It is a powerful brand element which can be an asset to Frooti.

Regarding the new campaign, although the idea is good, I frankly did not get the idea the first time . I liked the ' Why Grow Up' Tagline but not the ad- may be because I did not like the look of the main character in the ad. Somewhere down the line, the ad lost the " Cool" factor .

You can read more about this repositioning from Raj Kurup of CLA here : Raj on Frooti repositioning

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Brand Update : KitKat

Kitkat now has become more chocolaty. The brand has changed the product to appeal to Indian Palate .
The brand is currently running a campaign highlighting its chocolaty nature

Watch the new tvc here : Kitkat Chocolaty

What is interesting is that the brand has gone back to its famous tagline " Have a break,Have a Kitkat ". The brand had adopted a new tagline : Kitkat break banta hai...

The question again lingers.. if you have a very famous tagline and consumers like that and if your brand has developed a strong association with that tagline, why change it ???

Indian consumers has been lukewarm to wafer chocolate brands like Perk and Kitkat. After the initial sales boost, both these brands are facing the issue of stagnant growth. Both Perk and Kitkat have tried to boost sales by product innovations. Kitkat launched Kitkat Chunky and Kitkat Lite while Perk launched Ulta Perk. They have even tried coming out with different SKUs inorder to increase consumer usage. But consumers seem to prefer the chocolate bars over wafer ones.

A tricky situation indeed....

Brand update